The comedy of man survives the tragedy of man. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




Death of Pausanias

Pausanias, the Spartan king, was very proud of the great victory he had won over the Persians at Platæa, and of the praise and booty he had received. He was so proud of it, that he soon became unbearable, and even wanted to become ruler of all Greece.

Although he had at first pretended to despise the luxury which he had seen in the tent of Mardonius, he soon began to put on the Persian dress and to copy their manners, and demanded much homage from his subjects. This greatly displeased the simple Greeks, and he soon saw that they would not help him to become sole king.

In his ambition to rule alone, he entirely forgot all that was right, and, turning traitor, secretly offered to help the Persians if they would promise to make him king over all Greece.

This base plot was found out by the ephors, the officers whose duty it was to watch the kings, and they ordered his own guards to seize him. Before this order could be carried out, however, Pausanias fled, and took refuge in a neighboring temple, where, of course, no one could lay violent hands upon him.

As the ephors feared he might even yet escape to Persia, and carry out his wicked plans, they ordered that the doors and windows of the temple should all be walled up.

It is said that as soon as this command had been given, Pausanias' mother brought the first stone, saying she preferred that her son should die, rather than live to be a traitor.

Thus walled in, Pausanias slowly starved to death, and the barriers were torn down only just in time to allow him to be carried out, and breathe his last in the open air. The Spartans would not let him die in the temple, because they thought his dying breath would offend the gods.

As Themistocles had been a great friend of Pausanias, he was accused of sharing his plans. The Athenians therefore rose up against him in anger, ostracized him, and drove him out of the country to end his life in exile.

After wandering aimlessly about for some time, Themistocles finally went to the court of Artaxerxes, the son and successor of Xerxes.

The Persian monarch, we are told, welcomed him warmly, gave him a Persian wife, and set aside three cities to supply him with bread, meat, and wine. Themistocles soon grew very rich, and lived on the fat of the land; and a traveler said that he once exclaimed, "How much we should have lost, my children and I, had we not been ruined by the Athenians!"

Artaxerxes, having thus provided for all Themistocles' wants, and helped him to pile up riches, fancied that his gratitude would lead him to perform any service the king might ask. He therefore sent for Themistocles one day, and bade him lead a Persian army against the Greeks.

But, although Themistocles had been exiled from his country, he had not fallen low enough to turn traitor. He proudly refused to fight; and it is said that he preferred to commit suicide, rather than injure the people he had once loved so dearly.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province